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Homemade Fire Starters

Homemade firestarters made in muffin tins

You can save money and recycle some household waste products by making your own fire starters. This is a guide about homemade fire starters.


Solutions: Homemade Fire Starters

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Tip: Wine Cork As Cheap Fire Starter

Use your wine corks for cheap fire starters. Just add a little alcohol on the cork. It works well.

By coville123 from Brockville, Ontario

Editor's Note: Be sure it is a natural cork, not the newer plastic foam corks that are often used instead.

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Tip: Use Leftover Candle Wax for Firestarters

Use Leftover Candle Wax for FirestartersI save our empty toilet and paper towel tubes, stuff them with waste paper and junk mail or even pine cones. Then I melt my small, leftover candle pieces in a old candle warmer just until it melts.

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Tip: Fire Starters For Christmas

Make Christmas gifts by recycling egg cartons and dryer lint! Using a cardboard one-dozen egg carton, fill each hole generously with dryer lint. Using melted scented candles purchased at a yard sale, pour hot wax into each hole, filling 2/3-3/4 full. Let harden.

To use, cut one section from carton, light the cardboard portion, and you've got the perfect fire starter! Great gift for people in cold climates, for parents and grandparents who won't have to find a spot on their mantel to display this year's gift.

By Zoanne from Chugiak, AK

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Tip: Inexpensive Fire Starter Ideas

We burn wood, and fire starters are not cheap. My husband laughs at me for some of my cheap ideas, but they work! I use the below in addition to the twigs and leaves and bark that are in the wood pile.

  1. I save dryer lint and stuff it into empty TP or paper towel rolls and use it to start a fire.

  2. Save empty butter wrappers (I first use them to grease cake pans). Store in a bag in the freezer until needed.

  3. Save paper towels that are used to clean up greasy pans or messes as above, store in a bag in the freezer until needed.

  4. Junk mail

By April from NW, MO

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Tip: Fragrant Fire Starters


  • paper egg carton
  • newspaper
  • old candles and crayons
  • coffee can for melting the waxes
  • assorted dried fruit
  • whole nutmeg and cinnamon
  • small pine cones
  • spruce sprigs or fir needles (optional)
  • craft knife
  • pot to put coffee can in
  • metal spoon
  • pot holders
If you want to make these into a gift, you will also need:
  • basket with handle
  • ribbon
  • gift card and markers
  • excelsior or shredded newspaper


  1. Cut lid off the carton.
  2. Melt the candles and crayons on low heat.

  3. With hand protection, pour 1 inch of wax mix into the whole egg carton. Before it hardens, add the pine cones, fruit, spices, spruce sprigs, and such. Allow wax to harden.
  4. Once it is cooled, use craft knife to separate the egg cups. Line basket with excelsior or shredded news print and add cups. Make a sign saying "for your fireplace" and decorate with bows.

This is also a good seller at bazaars, as the scents draw people to your table!

Note: This is not a project for unsupervised kids.

Source: I found this in a craft book several years ago, but I don't have it anymore.

By Poor But Proud from Sweet Home, OR

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Tip: Tips for Making Fire Starters

A tray of homemade firestarters

I liked the many suggestions for using paper towel and toilet paper rolls to make fire starters. My problem was that I didn't have a good way to stuff the rolls and pour or dip them in wax. Then I remembered my camp craft class where we made paper baskets (this was a looong time ago!).

Cut paper towel rolls in thirds. Fold one end and make a cut about 3/4 inches through both layers. Open the fold up and fold again so that the cut ends are now on the edges. Make another cut about 3/4 inches and open up the fold. Fold the four cut edges so they cover each other (like a box). The paper roll can now stand up and be filled with dryer lint, sawdust, etc. Pour the melted wax into the open end.

I also put these on a styrofoam tray (the kind meat comes on works well) and set my rolls up one against the other on the tray so that any wax that seeps through will pool on the tray and not make a mess of my work surface.

    By Joan C. [1]

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    Tip: Corn Chips Make Great Campfire Starters

    Put that stale bag of Fritos to good use. Start a campfire with them. They catch on fire very easily.

      By Robyn [369]

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      Tip: Ideas For Fire Starters

      Here are two more ideas:

      1. Use cardboard egg cartons with stubs of birthday candles in the pockets. Tear off a few pockets, put a few candle stubs in the pockets, and build your fire OVER the egg carton pieces. Light the edge of the carton and away you go.

      2. Wax paper "kisses" with shaved paraffin or candle stubs. Great way to learn how to use a knife (for kids or adults). Tear off a piece of waxed paper about 6 inches square (you get more than one out of a 6-inch piece from the roll.). Shave or scrape paraffin wax blocks, leftovers from home canning, or old candle stubs into the middle of the wax paper square. When you have about a marshmallow size pile, bring the corners together and twist to look like a Hershey's kiss. Put one or two down and build your fire over the top.

      Source: 43 years of Girl Scout camping.

      By Eileen from Elk Grove, CA

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      Tip: Use Shredded Paper as Fire Starter

      We shred our excess paper and use it as a fire starter.

      By Grandee from CA

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      Tip: Egg Carton Fire Starters

      We are avid campers. Instead of buying those expensive fire starters, we make our own. Take a cardboard egg carton, fill each cup with dryer lint, melt old candle leftovers and pour into the cups over the lint. Cut them apart and voila, fire starters. These can be put under you kindling. They burn longer and give the fire time to get off to a good start.

      By Jodi from Glen Burnie, MD

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      Tip: Fire Pit Starters With Alcohol And Corks

      Get a jar that closes with a rubber seal. Put in corks from wine bottles, etc, then fill the rest of the way with denatured alcohol. Be careful not to put in too many corks, since they expand as they absorb the alcohol.

      Turn the jar upside-down. The corks on the top will now be on the bottom and totally immersed in the alcohol.

      When you want to start a fire in your fire pit, turn the jar right side-up, take a cork that is now on the top - you'll only need one - and use it to start the fire. You'll need to be careful not to set the jar close to the fire, since the alcohol, like all lighter fluids, is extremely flammable.

      A container of denatured alcohol lasts forever. The corks are basically free, and you'll be stunned at how great these work.

      By Susan P

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      Tip: Dryer Lint For Fire Starting

      Save the lint from the dryer in a plastic container. In the winter months when the wood for the fire gets a little damp, use the lint under the kindling to get it started. Works great!

        By korlund [1]

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        Tip: Homemade Fire Starters

        Recycle used toilet and kitchen rolls, fill with newspapers.

        We also use a 'Briquette Maker' to make use of old newspapers. Have a look at Amazon for ideas. Make them in the sumer to dry out in conservatory or green house, a little labour intensive but quite relaxing with the tearing and soaking of the papers.

        Source: Amazon

        By Katieb from UK

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        Tip: Holiday Fire Starters

        I found this tip at, it is a great site.

        "Fill an empty roll with dried leaves in the fall. Wrap it with newspaper, 4 inches longer than the roll, and twist the ends of the paper, for easy lighting. If you wrap them with decorative paper and put them in a basket they make a nice accessory to a fire place. They can also be covered with Christmas wrapping paper for the holidays. Contributed by Claycrazy."

        By Racer

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        Here are questions related to Homemade Fire Starters.

        Question: Using a Cork Fire Starter Soaked in Alcohol

        Does anyone know how long a cork fire starter burns for?

        By L.DEE

        AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No


        Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the comments that were provided then.

        Archive: Pinecone Fire Starters as Christmas Gifts

        This is a very inexpensive if not free quaint and useful Christmas gift. You see them in the gift stores for ridiculous prices, why not clean your yard and make lovely presents at the same time.

        Gather up pinecones, all except the white pinecones that have pitch on them. Save the ends of used candles and remelt the wax in a foil pan (use as a double boiler). Dip the pinecone in the melted wax to coat it.

        You may add fragrance oils, dried crushed herbs, and food color to create a sensory delight. Place the pinecones on a sheet of wax paper to dry within seconds.

        Place an assortment of cones in a wicker basket or gift bag. Add bunches of dried tied bouquets of mint, cinnamon sticks, or lavender to give that extra few minutes of fragrance to the fire. People will love it and say how creative and talented you are...not that you are a cheap penny pitcher that makes rubbish look good.

        By Live Again from Wiscasset, ME


        RE: Pinecone Fire Starters as Christmas Gifts

        It is my understanding that burning pinecones creates creosote, which is a sticky tar-like substance that gunks up the inside of your chimney and can create chimney fires. I would reconsider the safety of this idea. (11/09/2005)

        By Linda

        RE: Pinecone Fire Starters as Christmas Gifts

        Hi Linda,
        Thanks for your concern. I think this might be a problem if all you burned was pinecones. Just using them as a firestarter, I doubt if there would be enough creosote to make much of a difference.
        Susan from ThriftyFun (11/09/2005)

        By ThriftyFun

        RE: Pinecone Fire Starters as Christmas Gifts

        Hi Live again...

        That's a lovely idea. Thank you. It was especially nice to see that you are from Wiscasset. I live in the midwest, but I grew up in Maine and spent a lot of time with my aunt, uncle and cousins in Wiscasset. Happy memories!!!

        For those conerned about creosote, you can use them as a decoration for the she a pretty basket. etc, and burn them in a campfire or outside fireplace in the summer. Nice! (11/09/2005)

        By mousie

        RE: Pinecone Fire Starters as Christmas Gifts

        Hi Live again, I too am from Maine,lived there from the time I was born until 3 1/2 years ago and then moved to Tennessee( to much snow in Maine).Yes, they are great firestarters We've used them before and never had a problem with built up creosote. When using anything like that remember to open your flue for a while after burning them and the creosote will burn out. It helps to run your flue open every once in a while to keep the creosote burnt out anyway from other types of wood. (11/10/2005)

        By Megan's mom

        RE: Pinecone Fire Starters as Christmas Gifts

        If you didn't have your flue open when using your fireplace, wouldn't that make your house real smoky? I use pinecones, and also dip leaves and small sticks in the wax to burn also. Great for when your fire starts dying and you want to revive it quickly. (11/13/2005)

        By Dede

        RE: Pinecone Fire Starters as Christmas Gifts

        May I put your site on a forum?
        I was looking at a way to make pine cone firestarters and your site came up?


        Editor's Note: Sure, feel free to link to any of our pages. If you have any trouble, email us using the contact information at the bottom of the page. (10/08/2007)

        By Wanda

        Archive: Homemade Fire Starters

        Save lint from dryer, "cardboard" egg cartons (not the styrofoam ones) and old candle pieces or crayons. Put lint in each egg cup. Melt the candle pieces in an old coffee can. Pour melted wax into egg cups. Let dry, break apart and use to start your fires!

        By Beejay from Whittier, CA


        RE: Homemade Fire Starters

        I too make fire starters for camping this way. I have a plastic bag hanging not far from my dryer where I place the lint from my dryer. I also use the cardboard egg cartons, but instead of using old crayons or used wax from candles, I just purchase Gulf Wax paraffin blocks that I purchase in the grocery store. I use an old sauce pan to melt the wax. These starters are almost free, except for the paraffin that I purchase. We usually cook on our fires so I don't want the scent of candles in our fire. But that is just me. Glad someone else is into making these simple fire starters for camping. They get the fire started quickly, as the dryer lint, cardboard and wax are very flammable.


        By Linda From PA

        RE: Homemade Fire Starters

        These sound like great ideas, however, if you're starting a fire indoors (needing a chimney) you do not want to use anything like crayons or wax that adds to the build up in the chimney. (01/13/2007)

        By Debbie

        RE: Homemade Fire Starters

        Yes, yes, I'm certain it's a great idea. WARNING! Watch the temperature of the heating wax VERY carefully because it tends to melt quickly and FLARE UP FAST, which is how my 11 yr. old daughter caught our kitchen on fire years ago. Our kitchen has never been the same, and I ALMOST didn't hear her scream as she tossed WATER on it, the WORST POSSIBLE THING SHE COULD HAVE DONE IN HER PANIC. I was in the back bath with the exhaust fan on as she was yelling for HELP! By the grace of God she was not burned and our home didn't burn down.

        I've been saving old egg cartons with plans to show my grandchild how to make paper from it since what I have are recycled paper cartons for brown eggs.

        You've given me the great idea of using the egg cartons for holding/storing the medium small pine cones we plan to dip in paraffin for outdoor fire starters in our firepit rather than to toss all of those
        things. I just LOVE to recycle, don't you? God bless you. Thanks, too. : ) (01/26/2007)

        By Lynda

        Archive: Homemade Fire Starters

        Fire starters for camping are easy to make with things you have around the house. All you need is a paper egg carton, dryer lint and wax.